Ashwini Ponnappa has said that young Indian players tend to focus more on the Singles event which results in the lack of quality Doubles players in major tournaments. Ponnappa, who is currently paired up with Sikki Reddy, added that lack of experience converts into failures against Doubles' experts.
Ponnappa and Reddy participated in the recently concluded Badminton World Championships in Glasgow where they were eliminated in the second round by the second-seeded duo of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen. While the entire country went gaga about PV Sindhu (silver) and Saina Nehwal's (bronze) medals at the big event, Ponnappa emphasized that the young crop focused to become a single player and later if they decided to play as doubles players, it affects the country’s medal tally.
"There are quite a few new doubles pairs. Most of them are young and don't have much experience and exposure. It will be good to give them some time and see how they fare as it's not easy being a doubles player in a country where doubles is not focused on from a young age," Ashwini told IANS.
"Most shuttlers in India start playing doubles seriously post their teens, which makes it hard to perform
Ponnappa and her former partner, Jwala Gutta, won the Gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in front of their home audience before grabbing the bronze medal at the World Championships the next year. They also managed to take home the silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. However, after a disappointing performance at the Rio Olympics last year, the duo decided to part their ways and the 27-year-old decided to play with Reddy in the women’s doubles.
"It's been eight months since Sikki and I paired up. And in those eight months, we've had some good performances and some bad performances -- like any other pair," Ashwini told IANS.
"And being a fairly new pair, I'd say we've done well so far and are on the right track."
Ponnappa, who also played in the mixed doubles category, recently paired with B Sumeeth Reddy but clarified that she would play future tournaments with Satwiksairaj.
"No, I will be playing with Satwiksairaj from the next tournament," Ashwini concluded.